* 02.11.1919 Wanne-Eickel in Ruhrgebiet
+ 19.09.2003 Herne
Awarded Knights Cross: 01.07.1942
as: Feldwebel Flugzeugführer 9./JG 52
Awarded Oakleaves as the 446th Recipient: 11.04.1944 as Hauptmann
Staffelkapitän 1./JG 1
Postwar signed photo measuring 3 ½” x 5”
Alfred Grislawski was born 2 November 1919 at Wanne-Eickel in Ruhrgebiet. On leaving school in July 1934, Grislawski was employed as a farm-worker in the Stolp region of Pomerania. After two years he applied to join the Navy to become a sailor but was rejected being offered service in Naval Aviation instead. Grislawski began his compulsory military training at Fliegerersatzabteilung 16 at Schleswig. By summer 1938, Gefreiter Grislawski was serving as a recruit trainer. Via flight training schools at Delmhorst, Salzwedel and Prenzlau, Grislawski underwent his fighter pilot training at Stolp. In early June 1940, Grislawski was posted to the Ergänzungsgruppe Merseburg. In July 1940, Grislawski was posted to III./JG 52, based at Zerbst having recently been withdrawn from operations over the English Channel for rest and re-equipment. Gefreiter Grislawski was assigned to 7./JG 52. Grislawski was transferred to 9./JG 52 in early October 1940. He received promotion to the rank of Unteroffizier the same day. On 14 October, III./JG 52 was ordered to Romania. III./JG 52 was redesignated I./JG 28 until 27 December. The unit was tasked with providing training for Romanian Air Force personnel. The German invasion of Russia saw Grislawski based at Pipera in Rumania. In August, III./JG 52 was ordered into front line service based at Biyala Tserkov in the Ukraine. Grislawski gained his first victory over the Eastern front on 1 September 1941, when, on a freie Jagd over Kremenchug, he shot down a Russian I-16 fighter. On 23 October, III./JG 52 was ordered to relocate to Perekop in the Crimea. On the transfer flight Grislawski’s Bf 109 F-4 (W.Nr. 7038) “Yellow 8” suffered engine failure necessitating a belly-landing. He emerged unscathed from the incident. By the end of 1941, Grislawski had increased his victory total 11, gained operating over the Crimea. At the end of December, III./JG 52 were ordered to relocate to the Kharkov area. In mid-January 1942, Grislawski was sent home on leave. He returned to front-line duties in late February. On 29 April, 9./JG 52 were ordered back to the Crimea in support of the German offensive to retake the Kerch Peninsula. Grislawski recorded his 20th victory on 30 April, when he shot down a Russian I-15bis biplane fighter-bomber near Karpech. Feldwebel Grislawski was particularly successful in May 1942 recording 22 victories, including four victories on 1 May (21-24). On 1 July, Grislawski was awarded the Ritterkreuz for 43 victories. He was sent on an extended leave on 24 July. In late August 1942, newly promoted Oberfeldwebel Grislawski returned to the Eastern front and was assigned to 7./JG 52, based in the Caucasus. In September, he claimed 16 victories over the Terek bridgehead, including four Russian Boston twin-engine bombers shot down on 8 September (47-50). On 5 November, he shot down four Russian Il-2 Sturmovik ground-attack (63-68) but was himself shot down in Bf 109 G-2 (W.Nr. 13 909) carrying out a belly-landing from which he walked away with only a few bruises. Grislawski claimed a further four victories on 12 December (79-82). On 18 January 1943, Grislawski led a Rotte providing escort to a formation of Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers against Russian tank forces in the Stavropolskaya area. The formation was intercepted by Russian I-16 fighters and in the subsequent combat, Grislawski’s Bf 109 was hit, setting it on fire. He nursed his damaged aircraft back over German lines before baling out, sustaining burns to his face. On 26 January, Grislawski received promotion to the rank of Leutnant. He recorded his 92nd victory on 3 February 1943. On 11 February, Grislawski suffered engine failure in Bf 109 G-2 “White 13” on a test flight from Slavyanskaya, necessitating a forced landing. He was then sent on leave. Grislawski returned to 7./JG 52, based in the northwestern Caucasus, in early April 1943. On 27 April 1943, he recorded his 100th victory. Grislawski claimed his 108th and 109th victories on 3 June 1943. However, the next day he was wounded in an explosion of a German land mine on a beach near Taman. On his recovery, Grislawski was transferred to JGr Süd. On 15 August 1943, JGr Süd was redesignated JG 50, under the command of Major Hermann Graf (212 victories, RK-Br), for the express purpose of intercepting high-flying British Mosquito photo-reconnaisance aircraft. During his time with the unit, Grislawski commanded 1./JG 50, based at Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, and shot down his first two USAAF four-engine bombers on 17 August. In early October, Grislawski was promoted to the rank of Hauptmann and given tempoary command of JG 50, when Graf was appointed acting Kommodore of JG 1. On 6 November 1943, Grislawski was appointed Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 1, based at Deelen in Holland, operating Fw 190 fighters. He was shot down in aerial combat with USAAF bombers over Baske on 24 January 1944. Wounded, he baled out of his stricken Fw 190A-7y (W.Nr. 430 167) “White 1”. Grislawski was appointed Staffelkapitän of 8./JG 1, based at Paderborn, following his recovery from the wounds received in January, on 13 March 1944. The unit was tasked with combatting the USAAF fighter escorts operating the new Bf 109 G-6/AS especially equipped for high-altitude operations. Hauptmann Grislawski was awarded the Eichenlaub on 11 April for 122 victories. Granted leave, Grislawski was married on 20 May. On return from his leave, Grislawski led 8./JG 1 to Beauvais-Tillé in France, to combat the Allied landings in Normandy. After less than a week the unit was relocated to Germany having suffered horrendous losses over and around the beachhead. In early July, Grislawski led the unit back to France. On 18 July, he was appointed acting Gruppenkommandeur of III./JG 1, when Hauptmann Erich Woitke (28 victories, killed in action 24 December 1944) was shot down and wounded. On 27 July, Grislawski led a freie Jagd over the Caen area. In combat with USAAF P-51 fighters, Grislawski was shot down by RAF Spitfire fighters, baling out but surviving with only a few bruises. At the end of July 1944, Grislawski was transferred as Staffelkapitän of 11./JG 53. He recorded two USAAF B-17 four-engine bombers shot down on 12 September (131-132). On 14 September, Grislawski led 11./JG 53 to Leeuwarden in Holland. On 26 September 1944, he participated in a mission from Paderborn to provide air cover for German troops near Eindhoven and Nijmegen. USAAF fighters intercepted the formation southwest of Münster. In the subsequent combat, Grislawski was credited with a USAAF P-38 twin-engine fighter shot down as his 133rd, and last, victory, although Grislawski refutes the claim! However, his Bf 109 G-14 (W.Nr. 462 649) “Black 6” was then hit in the engine by a P-51 and caught fire. He baled out but did not deploy his parachute until he was at very low level. As a consequence he endured a very hard landing that cracked the second and third lower vertebrae in his back. He saw out the remainder of the war in a military hospital. The end of the war found Grislawski at Badgastein in the central Austrian Alps. He was imprisoned by US troops at Salzburg but was soon released and returned to his wife and family at Leuna. Grislawski was fortunate not to be imprisoned by the Russians as Leuna ended up in the Soviet zone of occupation. He was able to cross the zone border and return to his hometown of Wanne-Eickel. However, it would be 1946 before his wife and family joined him. Grislawski supported his family through various unskilled professions, mainly as a driver. He declined to join the Bundesluftwaffe because of his wartime injuries.
Alfred Grislawski was credited with 133 victories in over 800 missions. He recorded 24 victories over the Western front, including 18 four–engine bombers. Of his 109 victories recorded over the Eastern front, 16 were Il-2 Sturmoviks.
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